Wow, my family has a LOT going on. You would think I'd be used to it by now. But the substance of the goings on develops over time and of course as the kids grow up their issues grow right along with them. But so does their capacity to experience growth as they attain more and more control over their own lives. Sometimes that's a scary thing, but experience is one of life's valuable teachers. Bob and I just try to hang in there with them, and with Jesus and Mary so we can hang in there with our kids. Sometimes the best thing we can do for them is keep ourselves buried in the hearts of Our Lord and Our Lady.
Part of my Lenten observance has been praying through St. Louis De Montfort's Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary. It never fails to poke me somewhere each time I read it. Really, for this and it's companion, True Devotion to Mary, I could pretty much go through them continually and never reach the end of my need to do so.
Recently, one thing among many that struck me was the need to recognize just how much fear inhibits so many things in my life. And also how the concept of how labor is not something we can skip over if we are going to reach a goal. A concept all we mothers are well aware of! I can never forget Fr. Corapi saying, "No Good Friday, no Easter Sunday!" But if any of us were faced with what Christ was on that day, I daresay we would all just faint dead away before it got really bad. Mothers laboring to give birth can tell you that, yes, there is pain, but if there is an overabundance of fear, the pain is a whole lot worse and a lot less productive. We're told to breathe through it, and then at the right time, to bear down and work with it. Because there is going to be a great and miraculous reward and we will know it was worth the struggle.
The passage from the Consecration is this:
"There is one thing that keeps many back from spiritual progress, and from fervor in amendment, namely: The labor that is necessary for the struggle. And assuredly they especially advance beyond others in virtues, who strive the most manfully to overcome the very things which are the hardest and most contrary to them." p19
"For there a man does profit more and merit more abundant grace when he does most to overcome himself and mortify his spirit." p 19
If you think of the thing about yourself that plagues you most in life, and imagine yourself really facing it and taking concrete steps to overcome it, what's the first obstacle? For me, it's the whole reason it hasn't been addressed, because it seems too scary! Again, I think of Fr. Corapi. He said, ask for what you need! Say, you want to lose weight, but the task seems too big (yuk yuk). Ask for the desire to say, begin exercising, by asking for the ability to take, say a five or ten minute walk. Not for the ability to run a marathon, though if that is your goal, by all means, ask. He helps us through all the stages. If you need to, ask for the courage to even ask! Back up until you get to where you actually are. He'll meet you there. The laboring mother gets to the birth one contraction at a time. Ask for the same trust the Blessed Mother had when she said yes, not knowing all that it would cost her, bless her, and help to redeem mankind. If we live in fear of pain, all we see is the pain. If we live with faith, hope and love, and look past the pain, working with it to allow it to bear fruit, Jesus takes that and does the rest.
And now for my grandson!
Oh the bittersweetness of watching him grow up so fast!
Pray for me that I might be able to get out to see them soon, and better yet, get all of us together! And props to Meghann, his momma, who is a really good photographer.
Wishing you a Blessed and Grace-filled Lent